Castlefinn Celtic celebrate Premier League win
Classy Castlefinn Celtic made history on Sunday as they lifted the Donegal League Brian McCormick Premier Division trophy for the first time.
Castlefin Celtic 5
Kildrum Tigers 1
And they did it in some style with a hugely impressive victory over last year’s champions Kildrum Tigers at Park View.
The Kieran Brennan managed side, who came so close to winning the league in 2018, went into this game knowing that victory would assure them of the title.
However, if they drew and Kilmacrennan Celtic won against Milford United, then it would go to a play-off. And if they lost and Kilmacrennan won, then the Lurgysiders would have nicked the honours from under them on the last day of the season.
As things turned out, Kilmacrennan trounced the Moyle View Park outfit 7-2, but it made no difference.
Castlefinn made no mistake, and did the business with four second half goals really burying the Kildrum challenge.
JP Malley and former Harps striker Kevin McHugh had chances at either end early on but there was little between the sides in the opening quarter.
But Castlefinn then broke the deadlock on 24 minutes with the talented Corrie Lee Bogan surging into the right side of the Kildrum penalty area before unleashing a cracking shot into the roof of the net.
There was a minor scare shortly afterwards when Michael Dunnion saw a header go off his own post as Castlefinn were perhaps fortunate not to have conceded an own goal.
Kildrum, though, found themselves coming under increasing pressure as Peter Bryson, Malley, the ubiquitous Raymond Foy and Gary McNulty all threatened to score before the break.
The issue was effectively sealed in the opening ten minutes of the second half.
The ever-lively Bogan was involved in the build-up that led to Foy squaring the ball for Ronan Tourish to deliver a sweet strike from just inside the penalty area to make it 2-0 on 49 minutes.
Six minutes later it was three as Marty Owens surged down the left flank and crossed for Foy who picked his spot in the bottom corner with a fine delivery.
Indeed, there was less than an hour gone when Castlefinn made it 4-0 as Tourish charged in to smash the ball into the net from close range as he latched onto a great cross from Malley.
The long-serving Emmet White despatched number five with a well-executed shot to the bottom right corner after Kildrum failed to clear after 69 minutes.
McHugh scored a mere consolation on 79 minutes as he spotted goalkeeper Chris O’Donnell off his line and found the target with a well-judged shot from the left side of the box. Rarely has McHugh scored a goal that provoked virtually no response anywhere. The game was effectively done and dusted.
Castlefinn had further chances to add to their tally, but were unable to alter the scoreline again.
The final whistle was greeted with great scenes of jubilation. For the players, management, club officials and many associated with the club down through the years, this was a moment to savour.
CASTLEFINN CELTIC: Chris O’Donnell, Marty Owens, Gary McNulty, Michael Dunnion, Peter Bryson, Johnny Doherty, Corrie Lee Bogan, Raymond Foy, JP Malley, Ronan Tourish, Emmet White. Subs: Ian Ward for Tourish (61 mins), Shane Gallagher for Malley (71 mins), Rory Dalton for Bogan, Barry Tourish for White (both 77 mins), Rece Gallagher for McNulty (84 mins), Brian Dooher, Kevin McColgan.
KILDRUM TIGERS: Keenan Gibson, Michael Ayton, Ryan Higgins, Johnny McGinty, Matthew Crossan, Dominic Keys, Justin McGee, Odhran McMacken, Ryan McCarron, Kevin McHugh, Chris Cronin. Subs: Gary Crossan for McGee (half-time), Conor Mathewson for McCarron (70 mins), Darren McCarron.
REFEREE: Dessie McLaughlin.